|WELS seminary professor Forrest Bivens, is a Fuller alumnus, |
like David Valleskey and Larry Olson.
Probably all the leaders of WELS have been trained at
Fuller or its clones.
Some of us have been exploring the dark underworld of cowardly Universalism - UOJ - for years. We are familiar with the essays that slide from citing Luther to channeling Knapp, Rambach, and Stephan. Some ask, "Who are Knapp, Rambach, and Stephan?"
The authorities for the UOJ chattering class are not Luther, Melanchthon, Chemnitz, and Chytraeus--honored in the Book of Concord--but obscure and seldom studied anti-Christians.
Knapp was the last of the old Pietists at Halle University, a school started to teach Biblical piety yet quickly transformed into anti-Biblical rationalism. The pivotal modern theologian for the 20th century, Schleiermacher, was educated at Halle and taught rationalism there. My witty sainted friend in the Anglican tradition called Schleiermacher's style "faith without belief."
I doubt whether any of the blowhards praising the doctrine of Knapp, Rambach, and Stephan have spent any time studying Knapp and Schleiermacher. In my misspent youth I studied all the key modern theologians - Schleiermacher, Barth, Rahner, Kueng, and Tillich. My Notre Dame professors were keen about their favorites, so surviving the classes meant studying the liberal theologians as well as well as the current stars of football team. Yes - that - important. Joe Montana was one.
|I got closer to Montana at the recent Walmart meeting than I ever did|
at the Notre Dame Library.
In the last 150 years or so, the mainline apostates have taken over the teaching of higher education in theology. Few university theologians are believers. Like Barth, they know how to double-talk, letting the believers think they are doing something more than engaging in creative writing. The UOJ of Barth is important, because he is the main theologian of Fuller Seminary, the Harvard of leaders in the LCMS, WELS, ELS and the micro-mini sects.
I thought the study of modern theology was wasted time for many years, but I realized from reading the efforts of the Synodical Conference that the nightmare was starting over again - faith without belief. With considerably less skill, the SynCon writers start with the stars of the Reformation and quickly switch into their anti-Christian, unionistic agenda.
Forrest Bivens is not the only one to do this, but his essay at a worship conference (!) was so obvious that it saved me from looking for more examples. I ran across many other samples of the same Dreck from the swells of WELS, preserved in the Holy of Holies, the WELS Essay Files.
Why is Bivens important?
- He and his pal David Valleskey went to Fuller Seminary, bragged about it, and lied about it.
- Bivens and Valleskey taught at The Sausage Factory in Mequon.
- Both men seldom resisted the urge to promote UOJ - universal forgiveness without faith.
- Their dogma is exactly the same as ELCA's, which explains why WELS and ELCA can work together so smoothly - as in Jeske's Change or Die! conferences.
- This essay has canonical status by virtue of its inclusion in the WELS Holy of Holies.
- WELS is more obvious about UOJ but they reflect the nincompoopery of Missouri on UOJ.
- Jay Webber used to complain about the maladroit expressions of UOJ in WELS, but wow - look at his wandering, deceptive, and sloppy Emmaus essay.
Just to be clear - the Chief Article of Christianity is justification by faith.
6] This article concerning justification by faith (as the Apology says) is the chief article in the entire Christian doctrine, without which no poor conscience can have any firm consolation, or can truly know the riches of the grace of Christ, as Dr. Luther also has written: If this only article remains pure on the battlefield, the Christian Church also remains pure, and in goodly harmony and without any sects; but if it does not remain pure, it is not possible that any error or fanatical spirit can be resisted. Formula of Concord, III, The Righteousness of Faith.
The other famous quotation about justification by faith uses Master and Prince in the same argument. Later it was said that it is the article on which the true Church stands or falls. Therefore, these three phrases are used when talking about justification by faith, but the switch is made - without explanation - to justification without faith:
- Chief Article in the entire Christian doctrine.
- The Master and Prince, lord, ruler, and judge.
- The Article on which the Church stands or falls.
Bivens began by quoting from his copy of What Luther Says!
“The article of justification is the master and prince, the lord, the ruler, and the judge over all kinds of doctrines; it preserves and governs all church doctrine and raises up our consciences before God. Without this article the world is utter darkness and death.” (Martin Luther, What Luther Says, Vol. 2. p 703.)
But what is Bivens' description of justification? He asked the question himself and answered on the first page of his essay.
What precisely is this “master and prince, lord, ruler and judge” over other doctrines? Justification is a declaratory act of God, in which he pronounces sinners righteous. As revealed in the Bible, this declaration of God is made totally by grace and on account of Jesus Christ and his substitutionary life and death on behalf of mankind. To phrase it somewhat differently, God has justified acquitted or declared righteous the whole world of sinners. He has forgiven them. They have been reconciled to God; their status in his eyes has been changed from that of sinner to forgiven sinner for the sake of Jesus Christ. Since all this applies to all people, the term universal or general justification is used. In our circles an alternate term, objective justification, is also used. If justification is universal, it must also be objective - sinners are forgiven whether they believe it or not. This is precisely what Scripture teaches in Romans 3:23-24, when it says, “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. “ All have sinned and all (sic) are justified freely by God’s grace. Ibid.
The Primary Doctrine in Its Primary Setting: Objective Justification and Lutheran Worship
Prepared for the WELS National Conference on Worship, Music and the Arts
Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin, July 23, 1996.
So this is the primary doctrine taught by their seminary professor at their national worship conference!
One can hardly find source material more efficacious than this - not exactly ad fontes, but more like ad cloacam.
|Cloaca Maxima, Rome|